|Place Fernand Lafargue – get over there as soon as it warms up again…
|Chris Waddle, Italia ’90 – forever seared into our memories
|A standard British summer holiday affair…
So here come a few facts and figures from the Federation of Fish Fryers:
McDonald’s has only 1,200 outlets, Kentucky Fried Chicken 840
British consumers eat some 382 million portions of fish and chips every year – that’s six servings for every man, woman and child
80% of people visit fish and chip shops at least once a year; 22% of people visit fish and chip shops every week and…
56% of people buy fish and chips to eat in the home as a family meal..!
|The British chippy regularly smashes all the rubbish American junk food cafés…
|Brighton Pier, one of the spiritual homes of the British bag of chips
During WWII, again reprieved from rationing, Winston Churchill referred to fish and chips as‘Good Companions‘ and during the ‘D’ Day landings British soldiers identified each other during by calling out ‘fish‘ and the response or password was ‘chips‘.
|Helping our boys bash the Bosch
The UK chippy has spread all around the world (obviously focused on areas populated by beer swilling British expats like Spain and Australia) and has become fairly standardised. It is nevertheless important to point out the variety of regional differences to the basic prototype.
|The classic Chip Barm (Manchester style) with brown sauce
Then there are the extras to the menu:
Scraps, more common up north, are the remaining bits of batter in the fryer which are dumped all over your portion and guaranteed to block your arteries in under 3 minutes.
|A covering of scraps which are usually thrown in for free…
Other menu treats include:
|Standard chippy menu and layout…
|The Mighty Jumbo Battered Sausage!!
Cod has been off the menu for the last few years due to overfishing (there have also been various territorial fishing ‘cod wars’ with Iceland) but could make a comeback at some point. Other types of popular fish are Haddock, Roe, Skate and Plaice mostly fished out of the North Atlantic.
|Praise be to Cod. Waiting to make his anniversary comeback tour…
Moving on to potato variety and batter. King Edward, Maris Piper and Sante are widely regarded as the best to use for chips. The trick is to avoid getting soggy chips and there are various ways to achieve this.
Batter is best made using fizzy lager and the mix should be chilled before dipping the fish at the last second before frying.
Chips wrapped in newspaper was common place until a few years ago with reports of the ink being poisonous. Growing up munching vinegar sodden newspaper mixed in with scraps of batter and crusty chip remains has unfortunately been resigned to the history books. Some chippies are however using mock newspaper these days with hygienically acceptable paper inside…
On the drinks front there is a long list of favourites that have appeared over the years and in different regions:
|Truly EPIC chippy names…
As for interior chippy design, the majority of classic cafés have a metallic Henry Nuttal style counter. Various types exist but invariably the fish, sausages, pies and everything else are on display behind the greasy glass. The furniture is usually retro with either fixed tables or old skool plastic-based chairs!
|The standard Henry Nuttal style counter dating back to the end of the 19th Century
There are a few Fish and Chips awards handed out each year and various chippys have (sometimes self-awarded) prizes. Chippys often battle it out for ratings which can bring in hoards of tourist business.
|Charlie likes a big portion
Many people say you should only eat Fish ‘n Chips within view of the sea and often the best chippys are in ports.
|Whitby seafront – the world epicentre of Fish and Chips
|Yes Mum – sublime batter and good portion
Verdict: All in all a fantastic and welcome addition to the superabundance of Bordeaux café/restaurants and definitely worth a visit ASAP. Maybe even the Fab Four would agree…